So, after browsing around a little, I have noticed that the Ferarro thing has caused massive amounts of controversy. Personally… well, I am always dubious about everything that I see on the internet, so it didn’t really have a huge impact on me (at first).
See, now, I mainly blog about a game here. Well, I supposedly blog about a game, when I am not blogging about other random crap, just like this. At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter who I am, so there is no point going into an elaborately crafted lie or deception. It doesn’t matter what I look like, sound like or do for a living if I want to talk about Warlocks. I don’t believe the fact that I am a girl, or that I am Australian, or that I am under 30 has gained me any more readers than I would have if I were a 50 year old American male.
My personal blog on the other hand… well, there I DO write under a pseudonym, I don’t have pictures posted of myself, and I don’t talk about any details that might allow people to guess who I am.
To the average person, that might not make sense. Why hide behind another identity on a blog that is entirely about you, then allow people to know who you are on a blog where that isn’t at all relevant?
The important part is ‘What can people be allowed to know about my life?’ Here, well, you guys know my real name, vaguely where I live, what I do for a living, how old I am, what I look like, what I like to spend my spare time doing, and even what food I enjoy eating. That sits pretty well with me, because you still don’t quite know enough to do anything too malicious (if you were so inclined) unless you felt like doing a bit of investigating, and the WoW community in general seems to be quite nice (unless you are BBB, and what the hell is up with that shit?)
My other blog, people know… very vaguely where I live (think state), my profession, and the fact that I have a boyfriend, a family and a cat. They don’t know my name, what town I live in, or what I particularly enjoy doing. There are no photos of me, and everyone in my life is given a pseudonym. Why? Why would I be less concerned about privacy on the busy blog than I am on the quiet, unpublicised one?
It’s what I write about, of course! My personal blog is where I let out everything… my happiness, sadness, anger, and all that entails. I talk about stuff that has happened to make me mad. I talk about people I know. I talk about the frustrations of my job, my family and my relationships. I don’t want people I know or prospective employers finding that stuff and being able to associate it with me. Is there a chance they will? Sure there is, all it takes is a little bit of tech savvy to work out who owns the damn thing. The thing is, they have to find it first.
Here, on the other hand, I don’t really talk in depth about my real life. I don’t bitch about my job or my boyfriend dramas. I write about a game, and the community associated with that game. So why would I ever have to lie?
So, what has this got to do with Ferarro?
Admittedly, I first started paying attention to this when I noticed the uncanny similarities between the name of the character and the name of the producer of some of my favourite foods. I’m generally not one for gossip or drama (I am a pretty boring soul, really), but the ethical dilemmas here intrigued me. Does a blogger have a responsibility to tell the truth to their audience? Is using someone’s identity for ‘harmless’ purposes really harmless? How should we represent ourselves on the internet?
I honestly do not believe a blogger has to be 100% truthful with their audience, especially if they tell fibs in their posts which are not ‘relevant’ or ‘factual’. So, if I wanted to write a post detailing the amazing time I had on the weekend on my ski trip, I could, and I wouldn’t see anything ethically wrong with that, even though it’s a fib. That form of post would be purely for entertainment value, and, let’s face it, it would have to be more interesting to read than ‘I spent the weekend huddled in front of the heater*.
However, if I fluffed numbers, or distorted some fundamental part of the game to mislead you, or heck, even misrepresented some form of guild drama, that would be unethical of me. That is what the core business of this blog is, and to misrepresent that would be as bad as a news site misrepresenting, well… anything they are reporting on (because that totally doesn’t happen, right?) I wouldn’t trust anything that was written on this blog if it was discovered I lied about something in game.
A sustained lie about an ‘unrelated’ matter, on the other hand, is a little harder to swallow. A sustained lie where you also steal aspects of another person’s personality? Well, that’s crossing the boundaries a bit too much for my liking. Sure, that other person may have put various aspects of their life up on the internet for all to see, however, it doesn’t make it right to take it and use it as your own. There’s a hell of a lot of me on the internet, and I wouldn’t particularly like it if someone took my likeness and assigned it to their own work. To be honest, I’d also be baffled as all get out, since I don’t look especially knowledgeable about anything, and spend most of my time looking bemused, confused or abused.
In one of my older posts, I say something about not reading your blog if I think you are an asshat. You might be a well informed, literate, intelligent asshat, but an asshat you are nonetheless. While I didn’t actually read Paladin Schmaladin, if I did, I would more than likely now veto the site. The information is good, but I can not identify with the writer if they have so little that I can trust about them. Many people say they would still read Ferarro’s work, and that is perfectly fine. That’s why this is intriguing – it’s not cut and dried.
So, how do you feel about the issue? How would you feel if I suddenly outed myself to be a 70 year old man from… Tallahassee? (is that even how it’s spelt?)
Edit: P.S: Yes, I state that I write under a pseudonym on my other blog, and thus imply I don’t here (when in actual fact I DO)… but if you look over into that side bar, under where it says ‘”Buttons, Buttons and More Buttons", my real, honest to goodness, true name is sitting. Ayup, that’s me. Ditto with the ‘me’ that is associated with this blog on Facebook (yay for Networked Blogs!)